After a week of volunteering, the group was very excited to go on their first expedition. Little did they know that they would be put through some of the most challenging obstacles of their lives. Day one began at 5:30 AM with a three hour car ride from Auckland to Waitomo. The drive was long and winding, but the team was anxiously awaiting their arrival to the base of Absolute Adventures. Upon arrival, the group was introduced to their leader Doug. Doug was very knowledgeable about all of the activities were about to embark on, but had somewhat of an intense demeanor.
Once the group got briefed about their upcoming 5 day venture, they were issued wetsuits (which fit some people better than others) and polypropylene (a thin material that keeps you warm under your wetsuit). After the clothing was divided amongst the group everyone was required to make room for the weeks food and cooking supplies in their backpacks. Shortly after, Doug gave the group a lesson on how to read a compass and follow a map. Most of us were still confused after the lesson, but hoped that we would learn as the week progressed.
The adventure began with a long walk uphill to the top of a 300 foot cliff. Once atop the cliff, the group needed to abseil (or repel down) to the bottom in order to reach the next part of their journey: the cave. The team enjoyed the abseil, but were relieved to reach level ground. After abseiling, the group walked another path towards a cave. They then spent 2 hours working their way under ducks, tight squeezes and underwater passageways throughout the cave. Once they reached the end of the cave (which included a steep, muddy incline to the surface), they began a trek in search for shelter. Katie was chosen as the days' leader and had to navigate us towards our shelter. The trek was not easy, and the team was required to bend and twist their way through a thick wooded forest. Luckily they finally managed to find their way. GREAT JOB Katie!
The team was tired from the days hard work, but a great spaghetti meal made by Katie and Dominic was just what they needed at the end of the day. Before it got too dark, the group worked hard to construct their first shelter. With only a rope and a few tarps, the team had to put their heads together to develop a reliable place to sleep. Luckily ex-Boy Scout extraordinaire Scott was there to help the group put up a safe home for the night!